This weekend it was time to head down South to Naseby for the South Island Champs. A bit of a contrast from last weekend up in the far North.
Ross came down to Christchurch on Wednesday for a 5km race followed by some training in the dark both with and without headlamps, good thing our watches had decent lights on them…. after some late nights and early starts at work I was pretty tired come Friday night and the drive down. We made it into Naseby about midnight, luckily the sprint race didn’t start until after lunch!
As Naseby tends to do, its reputation precedes it, its perfect terrain for orienteering keeping your navigation honest at all times. I took it as it came, not really sure how to approach the sprint…I was going well, then bang, Ambulance at my attackpoint (tending to a MTB rider who had crashed), that threw me off and sent me into a mistake riddled 3 controls. It wasn’t until I got into some open space I was able to get back on the ball. Through to the finish I was fairly clean but ended the race with the feeling that I could have done better… surprisingly the North Islanders didn’t handle the terrain all that well either and I somehow slipped into 2nd place behind Chris Forne.
A new day and a new race, the middle beckoned. I started really well, was in the zone then failed to slow down enough on a critical leg of the race. Here the wheels fell off, I tried to salvage what I could but in doing so I made more mistakes. Eventually a long leg near the end allowed me to calm down and get back to it. Again I was surprised with all of my mistakes (7+mins), I still managed to only drop down to 4th place.
Sunday morning we all awoke to about 5cm of snow covering everything! As the sun came up it melted a little, but the cold wind kept the snow failing from the trees in the start box. Once underway the cold really started to set in. I was struggling to feel my fingers, but eventually I was running fast enough that they warmed a bit. Early on in the race I checked out the course and saw what was in store for us later, nice thick green shit, which was probably going to be covered in wet cold slushy snow… I kept up the focus through the top of the course which was covered in a thicker layer of snow than down a bit lower. It was one of the more cooler orienteering experiences I have ever had! Once into the green I told myself to slow down and focus on the map, unfortunately it came unraveled a bit when a control supposedly in a re-entrant was a bit hidden under a cliff! The extra time here allowed me to get a bit cold and it started to take its toll a little through to the end. Fairly happy with that run, again definitely not an A+ though, maybe a B+? 2nd place again behind that freak Chris Forne!
It was a bit cold to hang around too long and the snow started to come again in flurries so it was time to get out of there and back to Christchurch!